Good news! I’m almost caught up with schoolwork, so I anticipate writing another chapter for The Weavers’ Blessing tomorrow! I’m sorry for keeping you waiting for so long; hopefully it will be worth the wait.
To tide you over, here is a [real] short story that I just wrote (Get the joke? Because The Weavers’ Blessing was supposed to be a short story but turned into a monster? Maybe that wasn’t funny to anyone but me…).
Emma Theodore sat in an uncomfortable stuffed chair before a large, solid wooden desk. Behind the desk, in chairs that were several inches taller than hers, were two stern-faced interviewers, one man, one woman. The woman wore glasses with thin wire frames. Sitting perfectly still and upright, she stared at Emma while the man made notes on a paper, annotating her resume. The only sounds in the office room were the ticking of the clock and the scratch of the man’s pen.
Should she say something? She thought she had sufficiently answered their last question; were they expecting more? She felt herself start to panic. She wanted this job desperately, but she had no idea what to say.
The scratching of the pen stilled. For ten eternal seconds, the only sound was the clock. She thought she might be sick from anxiety, if she did not pass out first. The bleach-white walls and fluorescent lights did nothing to help.
Finally, the man spoke. “We have one last question for you, Ms. Theodore. Why do you want to be a teacher?”
Emma took a deep breath and exhaled slowly to calm her stomach. She knew this. This was what she had reminded herself of nearly every day of her last year of school. “I want to be a teacher because—may I tell you a story?” she asked.
If the interviewers were surprised by her request, she could not tell. They had not shown one spark of emotion in the entire hour they had been in this room. They only nodded at the exact same time.
“I had a professor at the school from which I graduated, Professor M. A month into the semester, there were twenty-one people in the class. The week before we turned in our plans for our term papers, Professor M told us we were doing well with our topics.
“The next week, after he had read our plans, he came into class. Without a word, he passed them back, and then he sat in silence for a couple minutes. When he finally began to talk, he told us for five minutes what a disappointment we were, what a disgrace to academia and to the department of history. Then he walked out on our class.
“I had to stay in the class. I needed the units for a number of reasons. Otherwise, I would have gladly dropped it with a ‘W,’ like all but six of my classmates did.
“On every assignment, Professor M spent a great deal of time telling us what we did wrong, but never said we did anything right. I began to have serious doubts about my ability to get a degree in History and to be a student at all. The whole semester, I put off working on my term paper. I knew, no matter how hard I tried, I would disappoint him; so why should I try at all?
“I came within an inch of intentionally dropping out of school. I had no faith in myself; I thought I was unqualified to be a scholar, insufficient for the field of history. When I could put off the paper no longer, I broke down in tears, hating myself because of how angry I would make Professor M when he read my paper.
“Then I remembered another Professor M, who I took three history classes with at my community college. I have seldom had a more admirable teacher or respected one as much. On my last day at the community college, I had a final in his class. When I finished and turned it in, Professor M put his arm around my shoulders and told me how proud he was of me, what a great student and a great writer I was. ‘Stay in touch,’ he said, tears glistening in his eyes. ‘I don’t want the next thing I hear from you to be when I open the paper years from now and see “Emma Theodore published a book or got this award.” I know you are going to do great things.’”
Emma paused to steady her voice. Old Professor M’s kindly face shined clearly in her memory, and forever would remain there.
When she could speak steadily, she continued, “I dedicated my term paper to the first Professor M. In less time than should have been possible, I wrote one of the best papers of my college career. When the second Professor M only told me what I was doing wrong, I remembered that the first Professor M believed in me and knew my potential, and I still did the best work I could do. I managed to pass the class with a high B. I stayed a History major and remembered how much I loved the subject and loved learning.
“That,” she paused, looking the interviewers in the eyes and smiling, confident for the first time since the interview began, “that is why I want to be a teacher, so that my students can look back even in their darkest hours and know, without a doubt, that someone believed in them.”